“Another round sweetie!” A man barked from behind the bar.
“Just a minute sir, I have other customers!” I snapped back while pouring several drinks in front of me.
Tonight was busier than usual and I wasn’t even sure why. Was there a fight in town that I didn’t know about? Or maybe it was some bullshit werewolf tradition to get stupidly drunk on a weekday?
“Come on! I’m parched human! Or I’ll show you a thing or two that no one has ever seen before sweetie.” The scruffy man held out his large disgusting tongue and flickered it around. I cringed at the sight and tried to remain focused on what I was doing. The bar was packed tonight and last call was only a few minutes away.
“I told you again I’m busy and I’ll get to you in just a min-“ I got cut off by the sound of glass falling to the floor.
“Oh my god.” The new bartender Kendra dropped a glass and scrambled to pick up the mess. I immediately stopped what I was doing and got to the floor to help her out.
“Don’t worry I got you. Start pouring more drinks and I’ll clean this up.” Her smile lit up as we both cleaned up the mess on the floor.
“You’re a lifesaver, I’m so behind on my orders, the customers are getting rowdy.” She excitedly said as she jumped to her feet.
“You will get used to it. They’re all assholes.” I gave a playful smile and she chuckled. She pulled her red hair back behind her ear revealing her freckled cheek bones. She was cute and innocent, something this bar would eat up and spit back up.
“Are you taking the '392' downtown?” She asked as she started pouring her drinks in fresh glasses.
“Excuse me?” I was confused, how did she know what bus I took home?
“Stop 392, I’ve seen you several times after our shift on the bus and thought we could walk together? The city can be dangerous at night.” She replied.
“Oh- I’m sorry I never have seen you on my route.” I finished scraping up the last few pieces of glass off the floor. “Done!” I wiped my hands on my apron and began wiping down the bar.
“So what do you say?” Kendra handed the drink to the patron sitting at the bar.
“Why not?” I replied.
The whole ride home I had my ear chewed off.
Don’t get me wrong Kendra was nice, but boy she could talk. We were almost to our last stop and her mouth was just moving up and down while I flickered my eyes to try to stay awake. All I got from that whole conversation was that she was an art student working to pay for her school tuition and the rest was a blur. I was way too tired to listen anymore, but she didn’t get the hint and continued talking about god knows what.
I nodded like I was listening, but I was really just thinking about other things on my mind. My brother who was probably in an alleyway shooting up, the fight, Coach Andrew, my shitty apartment that I could be evicted out of-
“That’s us!” Kendra shot up straight like she had an adrenaline shot. She was pretty energetic for a 2 am bus ride.
“Finally,” I sighed in relief as I followed her down the aisle towards the door of the bus.
It was another cool night and I could see the vapor expelling from our mouths as we stood at our bus stop. I wasn’t sure which direction she was heading and I was anxious to get home.
“I’m going this way, uh-it was nice riding, I guess. See you tomorrow?” I asked.
“Thanks for the company! We should do that more, but I’m heading the opposite way it looks like." She looked down the direction of where she had to walk to. " We might as well travel together since we live so close!"
I was relieved to know that I would not have to walk with her the ‘whole’ way home, but I guess I could use more friends. I’ve been so busy with work and training that I forgot to have a social life. Even if I had to listen to all of her life stories, it beats being a constant loner.
“Yea, sure.” I un-enthusiastically said.
She immediately responded by giving me a tight hug causing me to lose balance. I stumbled back but regained my footing as she embraced me in her arms. For a small girl, she had a strong grip.
“Oh-wow.” I lightly tapped her back with my hand, unsure if this was weird. I hardly knew her, but she seemed lonely. I guess we had that in common.
She finally released me from her grasp and I started walking towards my building.
“Bye Kendra, stay safe.” I waved as I strolled down the poorly lit sidewalk.
“See you next shift Hunter!” She waved back one last time before disappearing around the streetcorner. I knew it was dangerous in this part of town, so a little part of me worried for her, but then I guess I could say the same thing about myself.
I sighed from my exhaustion as I headed inside my apartment building. It was a long ass day and I craved my bed. I knew once my head hit the sheets it would be lights out for me. A part of me grew excited even thinking about it. Sleep was my savior on days like today, and I wondered if Kendra was experiencing the same sense of relief. I chuckled at thought and continued climbing the stairs.
I finally reached my floor and my urgency to get home increased. I envisioned myself climbing into bed with not a care in the world.
It was only until I started turning the key, I saw something peculiar on the floor outside my door. Why were there so many different muddy footprints? Was it Troy up to his non-sense again? I scowled at the thought and went straight in.
I shut the door and entered cautiously. Maybe it was Troy who brought in the mud, but who was he with? I flicked the light switch by the door and low and behold I see Troy, but he wasn’t alone.
“Who the fuck are you!?” I angrily said.
“Well hello HUNTER.” An Australian man spoke and fear paralyzed me dead in my tracks.